The Structured Interview

  • This interview schedule provides guidance to enable you to design your own interview and ensure consistent and fair interviewing of job candidates.
  • This example interview schedule covers nine areas: (click each bullet point to obtain a detailed line of questioning template)

         - Problem Resolution
         - Business Awareness
         - Communication Skills
         - Technical Mastery
         - Customer Management
         - Emotional Maturity
         - Teamwork
         - Negotiating and Influencing
         - Planning and Organising


  • Additional required information
  • Two interviewers should be present for the interview, one to ask question and probe, the other to record the answers. Agree in advance who will cover which topics and switch.
  • Evidence should be obtained from each candidate on each topic. Use the indicators provided to ensure you are covering each area fully.
  • If more evidence is required, repeat this process with the second example.
  • Then move on to ask the supplementary questions.
  • Plan to spend an equal amount of time per topic, approximately five - ten minutes on each.
  • Make sure you get sufficient evidence for each topic during the interview - it will be too late afterwards. Make appropriate use of open questions, and use the "funnel technique" (i.e. a series of multiple refining questions) to get more evidence. Evidence can come from in or outside of work.
  • Remember, you must collect evidence which is precise and specific to the topic. The prompt questions are designed to help you gather evidence of what the person has actually done.
  • Take notes of the candidate's answers so that evidence may be assessed and ratings awarded after the interview.


Steps for Rating the Structured Interview

Start with the first topic and, taking each area in turn:

  • Read through all of your notes
  • Compare the evidence obtained with the indicators listed in the rating form for the topic
  • On the rating form, where there is evidence of an indicator, place a tick ( / ) in the corresponding box
  • When the evidence represents the opposite to an indicator, i.e. a negative behaviour, place a cross ( X ) in the corresponding box
  • Where there has been no opportunity to display the indicator, leave the corresponding box blank
  • Write a short summary of the evidence collected for each indicator in the space provided
  • Move on to evidence collected for each of the remaining topic areas and repeat the process until all the evidence has been checked against the indicators


  • Rate each topic area in turn, using a rating scale of 0-9. Enter this rating in the box for each area.


Rating  Description
8 Strong
- Strong evidence
- Answered the questions clearly and directly
- Demonstrated a large number of indicators (75%+) and
- no negative behaviours.
5 Effective
- Acceptable evidence
- Answers indicate that evidence is there, but were a little vague
- Answers contained some (50%+) of the indicators and a few (25% or less) negative behaviours.
2 Poor
- Poor evidence
- Answers do not really address the questions
- Answers contain few indicators (less than 50%) and/or some negative behaviours (25%+).
NE The interview produced no opportunity to collect evidence on this competency.


Checklist for starting the interview:

Introduce yourself.

  • Check candidate understands the process.
  • Say how long the interview will last.
  • Describe the structure of the interview:

       - introduction and brief discussion of participant's career history
       - nine topic areas
       - participant's questions and close.

  • Check that the candidate understands the structure.
  • Explain that you will be taking notes.


The Introduction

The purpose of the introduction is to relax the candidate, and get them talking. It is also to provide you with a context within which to better understand the candidate's later answers. However, this part of the interview is not assessed, and taking notes here is not compulsory.


The Close

The purpose of the closing section is to ask any final questions which may have come to mind, and to give the candidate the opportunity to ask questions. These are likely to be about the process, and what happens next. You are not expected to give immediate feedback on performance.